June 13, 2016

Regulator publishes fundraising guidance

In a blog post last week, the regulator acknowledged that certain issues – publicised in newspapers last year – had served to undermine public confidence.

The watchdog hopes that the new guidance will encourage a step change in charities’ approach to fundraising and serve to restore trust among donors.

Sarah Atkinson, the Charity Commission’s director of policy and communications, said: “What has been clear in the midst of all this is that the role of the trustee is vital. The publication of our new guidance makes that absolutely clear.

“So if you’re a trustee and you’re reading this, the bottom line is that the buck stops with you. The good news, however, is that this guidance is here to help you.”

The Commission said that trustees were legally responsible for fundraising operations and needed to adhere to three key principles:

  • acting in the best interests of the charity
  • managing the charity’s resources responsibly, which includes protecting and safeguarding its reputation
  • acting with reasonable care and skill.

The Commission did, however, acknowledge that most trustees are volunteers who may make honest mistakes.

“Trustees are not expected to be perfect - they are expected to do their best to comply with their duties,” said the guidance. “Charity law generally protects trustees who have acted honestly and reasonably.”

Andrew Purkis, a trustee at the charity ActionAid, wrote an article for the Civil Society website arguing that while the guidance was sensible, it placed too much pressure on individuals.

Royds has a wealth of experience advising charity clients on the laws and regulations affecting the sector. For further advice on these matters contact Tony Millson or Deanna Hurst.

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